The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spring Cleaning

We're still adding items to our stolen tool list. In addition to everything I mentioned last week, we're missing our jig-saw, two palm sanders, one belt sander, spool of electrical wire, and a one gallon tin of denatured alcohol.

I'm still not sure if the spool of wire was stolen. Back in October we hired some electricians to help speed things up on the Queen. They came out a few times and wired up most of our lights, the kitchen stove, and a few other things. They didn't finish the whole job though. It's been months since I heard from them. I was beginning to think they'd quit. I wasn't too concerned since they hadn't been paid for the job yet. Either they'd be back to finish or they wouldn't get paid.

Wednesday afternoon (same day we discovered we'd been robbed) they showed up and finished wiring the parlor/third bedroom. I suspect they may have used up the missing spool of wire, but I haven't gotten a hold of them to ask yet. In any case, the Queen is approximately 85% wired. The ac/heat needs to be connected, the pantry needs a light, the kitchen needs outlets and some lights, and a few other things need to be finished.

As part of our token anti-theft measures (I say token because if you aren't there, there is no way to keep folks out if they really want in) Jack came up and installed some temporary, outdoor lighting. It's ugly as shit, but we're hoping that it'll deter further late night visits. Once we move in, the ugly lights will come down, but I'm not sure if or where we'll relocate them.

Scraping paint off the master bedroom ceiling this weekend only served to confirm that I'm a weak, flabby girly-man. It's a sure sign that I need to spend more time working on the Devil Queen so I can get into better shape. Finishing the Queen is only a secondary concern at this point (well, not really).

Scraping paint, what is there to say about it? Scrape, swear, sweat, and repeat until exhausted or finished. We nearly finished half the master bedroom ceiling before we gave into exhaustion. Mercifully, there are only two coats of paint on it, and most of it flakes off fairly easily (as much as old pain ever does). Once we finish the scraping, it'll be time to move onto the good old prime, caulk, and paint routine.

We spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening cleaning out the front bedroom (my son's future room). We bagged trash and hauled all the original exterior gingerbread trim into storage. Unfortunately, the only place we have for it at the moment is the crawlspace. I don't think we'll have to worry too much about it down there though. The trim is so dry rotted that most of it is only good as a template for re-milling new trim at a later date.

After we hauled everything out of the room, we started tearing down the old canvas & tack wallpaper. We were shocked to find some paper that wasn't ass ugly. We found what appears to be the original 1890 ceiling wallpaper, and it was actually attractive unlike the two or three layers of 1950's - 1970's wallpaper. We've cut out a few large swaths to save for posterity. They're very brittle, so we're going to mount them on acid-free foam board. I should have some pictures of it later in the week.

Under the wallpaper, we found a nasty, fuzzy-white colony of mold. We're going to have to do some serious scrubbing before we can paint this room. Fortunately, the wood seems to be solid and free of rot. Once we get the outer layer of white gunk off, it should be fine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound suspicious, but have you considered the electricians as the possible thieves?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Yokel said...

That was my first thought on reading this post. Hmmm.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes me too A criminal always returns to the scene of the crime!!

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOLD! I must tell you what I found out somewhere in the last year. To get rid of MOLD...which is a need to clean with Borax...Twenty Mule Team BORAX. It kills the plant and the roots...and it won't come back...and...I can attest to works. Originally I always believed a bleach solution did it, and I also use TSP for cleaning...but with have to kill the plant/root. Get some Borax in the laundry aisle.
Good luck with your house.

6:54 PM  

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